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Silk Road lawyer asks texts not be read aloud to jury

Supporters of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged creator and operator of the Silk Road underground market, stand in front of a Manhattan federal court house on the first day of jury selection for his trial, Jan. 13, 2015 in New York.
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Supporters of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged creator and operator of the Silk Road underground market, stand in front of a Manhattan federal court house on the first day of jury selection for his trial, Jan. 13, 2015 in New York.

The defense counsel for the alleged mastermind behind the black market website Silk Road has asked the judge for a strange request.

Read MoreWhy the Silk Road trial should matter to non-criminals

The attorney representing Ross Ulbricht, who is charged with money laundering, drug trafficking and computer hacking, has asked the judge to not let the prosecutors read aloud any online messages used as evidence.

In other words, the jury would have to read any instant messages, emails and forum posts instead of hearing them read by the lawyers.

Why?

Read MoreWhy the Silk Road trial is important, even if you're not a criminal

The defense argues that because online communications are meant to be read and not spoken, reading the messages aloud could add a "dimension that did not exist for either the creator or the recipient."

"Any inflection added by speaking—or even no inflection at all—distorts the medium and unavoidably creates an impression perhaps different from that intended by the creator of the communication, and/or from that of the recipient, who read that communication and in many instances responded," states Joshua L. Dratel, Ulbricht's defense attorney, in a letter to the judge on Friday.

Dratel also noted in his letter to the judge that there are written forms that cannot be accurately conveyed orally. This might include emoticons, a series of question marks and distortions of words (i.e. "soooo"), he said.

The request is one that Hanni Fakhoury, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said he has never witnessed.

"I've never seen a request like that, and I suppose it makes some sense; the real issue is the context of online speech and how that can be different than physical speech and putting undue emphasis on certain points. It's an interesting motion," Fakhoury said.

CNBC reached out to the U.S. Attorney's Office and was told the judge has not yet made a ruling on whether she will allow the request to be granted.

By CNBC's Cadie Thompson.